Pesky poltergeist may have swiped my stuff | Bushwhacked

We shifted house about three years ago. We finished shifting this week, with the opening of the official last removalist’s box. It was a momentous occasion, but also a disturbing and disappointing one and may even hint that our new place has a poltergeist.

For the past three years, I’ve hunted for things that went missing in the move, mainly a vintage war correspondent’s typewriter and a couple of those so-called “Tiger whisky jars” – simple glazed pots made by Chinese workers in the goldfields era.

We have turned the house inside out looking for them.

We know we didn’t chuck them out because we really liked them, especially the quirky old typewriter.

How do you lose a typewriter the size of a shoebox and as heavy as a brick?

Mrs Whacked is fond of saying I give things a “boy look”, and she almost always finds whatever I’m looking for exactly where I had already searched. But this is different. We both can’t find them.

In the back of my mind, I’d always thought they could be in the last unpacked box down in the shed.

We now know that’s not so. It’s a strange phenomenon.

Mind you, I’ll not be kind to the next person who says to me: “Isn’t it funny how things are always in the last place you look!” Of course they bloody-well are. Why would you keep looking if you’ve found it?

In the past, when we moved house, we lost stuff for perhaps a month or two, or even a couple of years, but things always seemed to reappear. Often long after you’ve stopped searching.

I began to wonder if others experienced this and that led to a discovery (don’t you love the internet?) that some believe poltergeists are responsible.

It even has a name: Disappearing Object Phenomenon. Entire websites are devoted to the discussion of DOP.

Some people – probably those wearing tinfoil hats – think that ghosts and cheeky spirits like to make stuff disappear in your house. Often then make it appear again later, frequently in exactly the place you thought you’d left it. But not always.

One site by an outfit called Gaia has an article listing 16 ways to tell if your house has these otherworldly pests and comments: “This phenomenon is called the DOPler Effect (DOP = Disappearing Object Phenomenon). Experiencers will place a normal, everyday object in a typical spot in the house.

“Later when they go to retrieve that item, the item is gone and nowhere to be found after a thorough search.

“Hours, days or weeks later, the object reappears in the exact position it was left in before it went missing.”

I will cherish this bit of wisdom every time Mrs Whacked suggests I’ve given only a “boy look”. I shall say: “No dear, it’s that pesky poltergeist, perhaps the ghost of old Tess, the long dead goofy dog, playing merry with my mind again.”

Tess could make things disappear, chiefly herself for days on end.

So, Tessie, if you’re mucking about with the typewriter and the Chinese pots, the joke’s gone on far too long. Drop!

What the hell would a poltergeist want with a typewriter?

Tess could spell a bit. She knew w-a-l-k-i-e-s every time. But I doubt she could write it.

Until there is evidence to the contrary, I’ll have to believe that I am a Disappearing Object Phenomenon Experiencer.

WAYNE GREGSON